The Mastodon in the Room: A Critique of the Proposed Organic Checkoff

By, Diana Kaye, Terressentials Terressentials is a personal care company of artisan hand-crafters making a wide range of authentic certified organic products: organic skin care, hair care, organic baby products, and other goods made with certified organic oils, herbs and butters. As a long-time, 25-year participant in the organic products marketplace, a USDA National Organic Program organic certified […]

Feds begin review of organic check-off program proposals USDA said it has option to hold public meetings on submitted proposals

by Sustainable Food News July 30, 2015 The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which oversees the National Organic Program (NOP), has posted a new fact sheet on its website outlining the steps to establish an organic industry-funded promotion, research and information order, known as a check-off program. With the expiration of the […]

Leader of top organic dairy group negotiates delay of check-off proposal deadline

Federal agency gives organic stakeholders until July 20 to submit proposals or partial proposals by Sustainable Food News June 3, 2015 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wednesday pushed back the deadline for submitting alternative ideas on creating a new organic industry-funded promotion, research and information order, known as a check-off program. Last month, the […]

Organic Checkoff – What’s the Beef?

Liana Head Shot #2 May 2015 (1)

By Liana Hoodes Liana Hoodes has worked on organic and sustainable agriculture policy for over 20 years, most recently as the founding Director of the National Organic Coalition, which she left in January 2015. Currently, Liana is consulting and organizing to advance high-integrity organic as the alternative to the current United States food and agriculture […]

Farm and Food: USDA inspector general says checkoff oversight virtually nil

Alan Guebert, Lincoln Journal Star, April 07, 2012 More and more, the federally-mandated, non-refundable commodity checkoffs resemble something out of a Charles Dickens novel. Most feature huge casts, complicated plots and, to read their news releases, are completely responsible for the best of times enjoyed by their farm and ranch payers. But when federal auditors […]

Beef producers are stifled by their checkoff


Conflict of interest, corruption, big industry… These are the complaints of the beef checkoff. Why would we bring a failed program to organic operations? “Since the 1980’s, Missouri cattle producers have been paying over $2 million per year in the mandatory federal beef check off tax and are now faced with the threat of millions […]

Free Speech and Prohibited Messaging: The Limits to Promotional Activities for Federal Check-off Money


The suggestion that organic check-off funds will be used to promote organics is one of the biggest arguments the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is using in their attempt to convince the organic community that their check-off proposal is a good idea. However, as experience with other commodity check-off programs has demonstrated, there are severe restrictions […]